In light of the WHO’s disappointment over the unequal access to COVID vaccines expressed earlier this month, US President Joe Biden is to organize a virtual summit on the fringe of the UNGA to discuss equitable access to vaccines, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has said as quoted by Reuters.
According to the World Health Organization’s data, only 20% of people in low- and lower-middle-income countries have received a first dose of COVID jab compared to 80% in high- and upper-middle-income countries.
Psaki informed that the summit planned for September 22 is about expanding and enhancing the shared efforts to defeat COVID pandemic by enhancing equitable access to vaccines and broader access to tests, solving the oxygen crisis, providing therapeutics and personal protection equipment and establishing a mechanism for sustainable health security financing.
The summit is also to be focused on aligning civil society, NGOs, philanthropists and industry around targets, tracking progress, and supporting participant countries in fulfilling commitments.
Though the event is not a pledging conference, the US side expect some of the partners to announce new efforts to build capacity so that all countries are able to mitigate outbreaks on their communities and prevent, detect, and respond to future biological threats.
Biden will attend UNGA – first time as US President- on Monday in New York first where he’ll address world leaders on Tuesday but he’ll convene the virus summit on Wednesday from the White House.
The list of invited participants has not been disclosed but Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that Russia was invited by the US to participate in the summit and is now considering it.
World leaders are expected to continue the talks on the subject at the G20 summit in Rome at the end of October.